Jul 24, 2015

Summer, Love And Baking In Goo Hara's "Choco Chip Cookies"

Goo Hara - Alohara (Can You Feel It)Goo Hara - Alohara (Can You Feel It)

Not going to lie, this review is not only a review but also an excuse to post pretty pictures of Goo Hara, who recently broke away from Kara (temporarily, of course) to go on a solo adventure. I've always liked Hara, like before I even knew who she was. I remember watching a clip from SBS' popular talk-show "Strong Heart" with her in it, and although I had no idea who she was I thought she was the prettiest girl I've ever seen. That's always been Hara's thing, her unique, gorgeous looks and cute yet spunky personality, and while she's a fairly competent dancer her vocals skills are nothing to brag about. With that in mind I had a hard time imagining her as a solo artist, but her debut "Choco Chip Cookies" featuring Giriboy has proven me wrong.

Goo Hara - Alohara (Can You Feel It)Firstly, how cute of a name isn't "Alohara"? The title of her mini album is a mash-up of two words: Aloha, of Hawaiian origin, and her own name Hara. Not only does the two words fit together but also means "Hello Hara", as aloha has become more of a greeting phrase in the English language. We're all literally saying hello to Hara as a solo artist, and she's saying hello to us as well. I don't plan on reviewing her album because I can only tolerate so much of her voice, but I thought I'd at least mention it because it's definitely one of the better titles of an album in K-pop.

The song itself is surprisingly pleasant to listen to, especially considering Hara's limited vocal register. It's well within her range and doesn't try anything that's out of her ability, but instead is very sweet, minimalistic and easy-going. Sure, she doesn't sound amazing but that's not really what any of us were expecting either so I can't say I feel disappointed by her efforts. I know she's doing her best, and it's great that the video is as good as it is because it makes you appreciate her even though your ears might not fully enjoy the experience.

Goo Hara - Alohara (Can You Feel It)
Like many other songs this summer it's a bit bland and it might take some time before it sticks with you, but unlike many other songs I actually liked it upon first listen. The melody is easy to like and the words "Choco Chip Cookies" are repeated to the extent that you're bound to remember it, and that's not a bad thing. Although the lyrics are a bit ambiguous (she's literally singing about baking cookies for her boyfriend, but there are too many sexual undertones and allusions for me to believe it's actually about that); I find that the fit well within the context.

Now onto the main highlight of this debut: the MV. Lord knows we've seen many summer videos this year with the explosion of summer comebacks by various groups (especially female ones), but this one is by far my favorite of those that I've seen. I like it because while it includes some of the typical scenery we've gotten used to seeing (palm trees, vibrant colors and high saturation) it also mixes in other kinds of shots with different lightning, saturation and coloring. There's a good balance between close-ups, full-on body shots, dancing sequences and insertions of plot, and it never gets boring to watch. Every scene is something new and different, and I love that they've really managed to utilize whatever country the video's shot in by shooting in many different locations and in many different ways. Some of the scenes are very K-pop-like (flashy set, bright lightning) whereas others are more candid and intimate, and are supposed to look like a home-made movie.

Goo Hara - Alohara (Can You Feel It)
Speaking of intimacy; the love-line acted out by Hara and her fellow actor/dance partner is one of the sweetest and most genuine ones I've seen in a really long time. There are so many shots of them either playing with each other, hugging and cuddling each other or going on small trips together. It looks very real and not fabricated at all like many K-pop videos that include a love interest do, and for that I give them both major props. Chemistry like that cannot be faked. Additionally, as if it wasn't enough sweetness already, they actually share a kiss on the beach at the end, setting my expectations for a summer fling really high.

Goo Hara - Alohara (Can You Feel It)
All of the above are great reasons as to why I enjoy this video so much, but one of the absolute main ones is Hara herself. Like I said earlier; I am crazy about this girl. I think she's stunning both inside and out, and this video is definitely a treat for a Hara fan like myself. She looks beautiful in every scene she's in, and I love that she got a tan to match the summer concept. Her dance moves are on point, her styling is amazing and her face is indescribably divine. I can't even hear how much I don't like her singing when she's looking into the camera like that, and that's what truly makes me believe she can be a solo artist. It's basically the same as with Hyuna, who also lacks singing skills but make up for it in charisma and raw star-power. Hara's image is different, for sure, but the effect is the same.

After watching the video multiple times I can definitely say that Hara's debut is one of my favorite releases this summer. The song is not the best but it's very sweet, breezy and summery and it works for her. As for the video I can certainly say that it's one of my favorites so far this year, and definitely my favorite so far this summer.

Song: 3,2/5
Video: 4,25/5

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